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  Only Four Days Left to Protest Congressional Redistricting
June 24, 2011

Comments are due on June 28 on the proposed Congressional redistricting that would split Richmond down the middle with the west half going to what is now Barbara Lee’s 9th District and the east half going to what is now John Garamendi’s 10th District. No part of Richmond would fall into George Miller’s 7th District, which now includes all of Richmond.

To Submit a Public Comment to the commission, call toll free at 1-866-356-5217 or send an e-mail directly to votersfirstact@crc.ca.gov.
The California Citizens Redistricting Commission is eager to accept supplemental attachments. The following file formats are supported: .pdf and .jpg.Files not submitted in this format will not be posted on the Public Comments page.
To fax or mail a comment:
Citizens Redistricting Commission
901 P Street, Suite 154-A
Sacramento, CA 95814
Fax: (916) 651-5711
The public hearing on June 27 is as follows:
Cowell Theater
Fort Mason Center
Entrance at Marina Boulevard and Buchanan Street
San Francisco, CA 94123
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

It is important to limit comments to information the Commission can lawfully consider. Click here for guidelines. The Commission is not interested in how well a particular congress person has represented the community or the political views of a congress person and the community. They do, however, have a high priority in keeping “communities of interest” intact.

I sent the following comments to the Redistricting Commission:

On June 21, the Richmond City Council adopted Resolution 52-11 (attached) opposing the proposed 1st Draft District Maps pertaining to Congressional Districts. To see the actual maps, go to http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-redistricting-map,0,6145644.htmlstory and type “Richmond, CA” into the box on the website. An interactive map of the proposed districts in the area will appear. You can move around on it and enlarge it by clicking on it. The jagged dividing line roughly parallels and lies to the west of I-80.

Some of the reasons for opposing the 1st Draft District Map for Congressional redistricting include:

  • The proposed 1st Draft District Map for Congressional redistricting would split Richmond in half between what is now Congressman John Garamendi’s  10th District and Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s 9th District. To complicate matters even more, the portion of Contra Costa County east and north of Richmond that is currently in the 7th District would be split north and south into two other districts, leaving the east half of Richmond sharing representation with central and eastern Contra Costa, definitely not a population with common social and economic interests [Blackhawk?]. The jagged dividing line in Richmond roughly parallels and lies to the west of I-80 and/or San Pablo Avenue. Splitting Richmond in half is contrary to Criteria 4 of the Commission’s prioritized criteria found in the California Constitution: “Respect cities, counties, communities of interest and neighborhoods where possible without violating the requirements of the preceding criteria.” A Richmond resident on the west side of 39th street, for example, would be in the 9th District, and Barbara Lee would be the representative; the neighbor on the other side of the street, however, would be in John Garamendi’s 10th District Neighborhood council districts and school attendance areas in Richmond would be divided. This just makes no sense. The drafters of the 1st Draft District Map may not have known that roughly half of more of Richmond’s land area lies east of San Pablo Avenue and I-80.
  • While Richmond, Berkeley and Oakland may “share common social and economic interests,” there is a far stronger “community of interest” within the entire city of Richmond (and keeping it together) than among Berkeley, Oakland, Alameda, Emeryville and the City of Richmond. In fact, while Richmond, Berkeley and Oakland may “share [some] common social and economic interests,” they are also in heated competition for resources with Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland and Alameda, such as the location of the second campus for Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, port-related resources, transportation funding, employment training grants, and much more. Currently, Richmond’s separate congressional representation helps provide a more level playing field, but if combined with these four cities to the south, the divided one-half of Richmond attached to the new 9th District would represent less than 8% of the District population and would be overwhelmed as well as geographically remote, joined only by a thin strip of I-80 at the Contra Costa/Alameda County line. This thread of a  connection defies the spirit of the requirement that “a district should be connected at all points.”
  • The historical and geographical ties binding Richmond to Contra Costa County, especially the waterfront cities, are stronger than any ties to Berkeley, Oakland, Alameda and Emeryville. All social, health and judicial/criminal justice services for Richmond residents are provided by Contra Costa County, while those for  Berkeley, Oakland, Alameda and Emeryville are provided by Alameda County. There is no rational basis for placing the east half of Richmond into what is now the 10th Congressional District.
  • Because the highest proportion of minorities in Contra Costa County are located in the Richmond area proposed in 1st Draft District Map, removing this block from the rest of Contra Costa County would disenfranchise those remaining and would likey violate the Voting Rights Act. For example, the City of San Pablo, which is surrounded by Richmond , would remain with central and eastern Contra Costa County, but with its community of interest diluted by the contravening demographics of central and east Contra Costa County.


An alternate plan that shows Richmond remaining in a District that includes Contra Costa County is attached.

Copies of Resolution 52-11 and an Alternate Plan by Tri-Cities that unites Contra Costa in one district are shown below.

52-11 Redistricting - conformed - signed certified copy_Page_1.jpg

Photo One